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Scott well placed for second green jacket

Scott now within striking distance (Photo: Getty Images)
A gutsy up and down from a greenside bunker at the 18th has kept alive Adam Scott’s hopes of a second green jacket with one round remaining at the 81st Masters.

For the second consecutive day, the 2013 champion toured the Augusta National layout in 69 strokes with three birdies and no bogeys to be just three off the pace on a tightly packed leaderboard.

One of four Australians to survive the 36 hole cut, Scott is the only one with a realistic chance to contend as Jason Day (T27), and Marc Leishman and amateur Curtis Luck (T47) find themselves too far back entering Sunday.

Since opening with a disappointing 75, Scott has improved each round and after mixing seven birdies with two bogeys and a double Friday he was a model of consistency on day three and will begin Sunday with a lot of confidence.

“I played a really solid round,” Scott told FOX Sports’ Paul Gow after his round. “Of coure I could have shot my way out of the tournament but I didn’t.

“I wished I could have had a couple better but I really like the way I’m playing and anything can happen tomorrow.

“A few back is not a bad spot to be. Get out there and have a nice front nine and put myself in the mix.

“I don’t have the pressure of lead sleeping tonight.”

Scott pointed to the putter as crucial in his third round 69.

“I missed a few putts that I wished I would have made yesterday and on Thursday, too,” he said.

“But I made them today.  A couple of huge 12 footers on 11 and 13 to keep some momentum going and stick in to the tournament and be there.

“I was really happy with that because I’ve putted really well all year.”

Scott’s day started with an up and down from the greenside bunker at the second for a birdie then he holed a slippery eight-footer for his second gain of the day at the par-5 8th.

In between he played characteristically strong tee to green golf without holing anything of note though the crucial 13 foot putt he made to save par at the 11th was a highlight.

Scott’s only miscue came at the par-5 15th where his second shot flew long and his third failed to find the green.

He two putted from the fringe for a par and kept a clean card over the closing holes and will start Sunday with thoughts of victory at the forefront of his mind.

“I think I’ve got to back myself a little bit on a few shots and lean on the  ball striking and get it in closer on a couple than I have,” he said.

“Not being crazy, I’m not going to knock flags out of the ground all day but there’ll be flags we can feed the ball into.

“It’s important to hit the fairways to give yourself that chance. I’m going to have to have a magic day to make up a few then have everything kind of fall my way.”

While Scott has booked himself a late afternoon tee time Sunday Jason Day will also be pleased with his Saturday effort after struggling in the opening two rounds.

Out in the first group of the day and playing with legendary Augusta marker Jeff Knox, Day said he felt he found his game again after what has been a trying start to the year after his mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“The first two days kind of put me out of it and today was a good round to get myself kind of back to good form,” he said after the round.

“I feel like I can actually play golf again, which is great, when I play like that. I kind of let things go a little bit in the middle part of my round with not really capitalising on the opportunities I had.”

He hit back on the inward nine though, with four straight birdies from the 12th including a spectacular second shot at the par-5 15th.

“Birdieing 12 through 15 was pretty good,” he said. “Hitting that shot up through the trees on 15 was pretty good as well.  I didn't have much room there, but I hit a great shot.”

While 15 was the highlight of the Queenslander’s day it was the opposite for Marc Leishman whose tournament hopes ended with two balls in the water at the reachable par-5.

One over for the day at the time, a triple bogey eight dropped him well off the pace and he compounded the error with dropped shots at each of the next two holes as well.

At 9-over the card he is sharing the same score as West Australian amateur Curtis Luck whose 3-over third round included four birdies, his best effort of the week in that respect.


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